When the highlight of your game was a photo of your general manager getting a good long look at Victor Wembanyama, you know it didn’t go your way. Pretty definitively, nothing went the Detroit Pistons’ way in their 126-108 loss to the Chicago Bulls in Paris.
It’s not that the Detroit Pistons wilted in the spotlight of a signature overseas game. It’s that under the bright lights, they played about as dull as could be. Nothing stood out as impressive or a signature building block.
There was no dynamic offensive ball movement, no imposing defensive presence. There was nobody on the team who wanted to carry this struggling team on their back and will them to victory. There was a lot of driving, minimal passing, and sometimes the ball went in, and most of the time it didn’t.
The Pistons shot 40% from the floor and 23% from three. All those misses led to 17 offensive rebounds, but they only turned it into 10 second-chance points. They were outscored in the paint and from the perimeter. Saddiq Bey needed 17 shots to muster 16 points, Jaden Ivey needed 14 to get 16, and Bojan Bogdanovic’s team-high 25 required 19 attempts.
The defense was absolutely dreadful. Isaiah Stewart struggled mightily back in his starting center slot against Nikola Vucevic. Ivey and Bogdanovic remain stuck in cement on too many possessions. and the team’s two best perimeter defenders — Killian Hayes and Isaiah Livers — were constantly baited into shooting fouls by Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.
In every way the Pistons refused to grab the spotlight this game afforded them, the Bulls were only too happy to get out and run, and make everything look easy. They didn’t have a great game themselves, mind you — a Pistons team that looked desperate to go down 30 constantly hung around with a deficit between 9 and 14 points. But LaVine knew how to hit shots, DeRozan knew how to hang a smooth mid-range jumper, and everyone seemingly knew how to get Derrick Jones Jr. the ball on an alley-oop. LaVine finished with a game-high 30 points while DeRozan netted 26.
It was not the sterling homecoming for the newly confident Killian Hayes. He obviously put too much pressure on himself to perform in front of his home-country, and rushed shots, had poor footwork, and committed several sloppy turnovers. Hayes really needed a teammate to help create offensive pressure and get the ball moving in a way that would net Hayes a few good catch-and-shoot looks. But in Paris, that never arrived. Instead, Hayes was the only facilitator, and it led to him shooting 2-of-13 on the night and missing all six of his 3-point attempts. He finished with as many turnovers as he did points (four apiece).
The only players who acquitted themselves well for the Pistons were Hamidou Diallo and Jalen Duren, who almost didn’t play at all because of passport issues. Diallo scored 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and it was with him on the floor Detroit was able to make their most dangerous runs at Chicago. And Duren, playing off the bench in his first game back after missing five games with ankle issues had 11 points and 12 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action. Duren (plus-5) and Diallo (plus-1) were the only players not deep into the negative today.
It was a dispiriting loss for the Pistons, but hopefully Troy Weaver some nice access to Wembanyama (from a distance, following all league rules of course), and understands what he must do as the Pistons close this season and approach another critical NBA Draft.